I am uncertain about the credibility of this source, but this Myanmar online news source states that the shortlisted 12 have shrunk to four groups. The shortlisted companies have formed into four final groups that include Digicel; the KDDI Corporation together with Sumitomo, Myanmar Information and Communication Technology Development Corp. (MICTDC) and A1 Construction; the MTN Consortium, and finally; Singtel, Kanbawza (KBZ) and Myanmar Telephone Co. Where is Axiata? Telenor?
With eighteen companies having thrown their hats in, it is easier to discuss who has not, yet. Of the groups active in the region, the most notable absentees are the Arab groups: Etisalat, Wataniya, Zain, etc. Ten years ago, we would have expected to see Telstra and at least one American company, but not now. South African telecoms group MTN is in talks with Myanmar’s Directorate of Investment and Companies Administration (DICA) with a view to gaining an operating licence in the south east Asian country, local source Eleven Newsmedia reported. MTN is thought to have joined a list of around 18 companies which have submitted an expression of interest (EoI) in acquiring Myanmar licences, including India’s Bharti Airtel, Singapore’s SingTel, Malaysia’s Axiata, Caribbean group Digicel, Singapore-based telecoms investor ST Telemedia (with interests including StarHub and Malaysia’s U Mobile), KDDI of Japan, Thai operator AIS (via parent Shin Corp/InTouch) and Norway’s Telenor (parent of Thailand’s DTAC).
Voice and Data, the leading telecom monthly, has done a good job unpacking the issues within India’s unholy spectrum mess. LIRNEasia’s Payal Malik is one of the participants in the debate. In case licenses are not de-linked, there will be rollout obligations. Some analysts suggest penalties to be enforced, like taking away extra/unused bandwith for spectrum that is not used optimally. According to Kunal Bajaj, MD, BDA Connect, “Open auction will remove all these problems.
It appeared that convergence was high on the agenda of Sri Lanka’s telecom operators. SLT introduced IPTV and Dialog put together a whole set of services including a satellite TV service and purchased a terrestrial license as well. There was talk of mobile TV being introduced. The new TV regulatory regime introduced surreptitiously as regulations under an archaic 1982 Act will to put a stop to many of these plans, if the government manages to defend it from its many opponents and the difficult-to-predict Supreme Court. Dialog for example may have to exit the satellite and terrestrial TV businesses altogether, because only public companies with majority Sri Lankan ownership can even apply for these licenses.